A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Prof Itse Sagay, on Thursday urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Alooma Muhktar, to rid the judiciary of corrupt judges. Sagay, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said doing so would go a long way to restore the integrity of the judiciary. He said that Nigeria could not move forward until the common man believed in the integrity of the judiciary.
Sagay also called on the CJN to ensure that all judges found guilty of corrupt practices were punished accordingly to serve as deterrence to others. The senior advocate advised the judiciary to ensure that court judgments were subjected to verification to ensure that they were devoid of any form of corruption.
“The perception now is that judgments are purchasable and judges have no integrity. They all have their prizes in cash, and in fact there are some lawyers whose special function is to be the middleman between litigants, who want to buy justice and judges.
“So, the important thing now is, one: the new head of the judiciary, Justice Alooma Muhktar should put her foot down and get rid of the bad eggs – the very notorious ones, who are known for being ready to sell judgments. “Get rid of them. Make them an example and ensure that any judgment that emanates from any court is subjected to some level of examination to reassure the judicial hierarchy that the appropriate level of integrity and honesty and probity in handling that case has been met.”
Sagay also called on the CJN to tow the path of her predecessor, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, who he said, implemented certain policies aimed at redeeming the integrity of the legal profession in spite of his short stay in office. According to him, the CJN has only about 18 months to make her mark, adding that Nigerians are longing to see a reformed judiciary during her tenure. ·“Time is going; six months have gone by.
That is a long time. The immediate past CJ who had nine months, came out very early and put some stamp of authority in the whole process by setting up commissions and so on to study some areas which were causing a lot of concerns. “Some work was done; so, there’s progress in that area. What the new justice needs to do is to continue with that process and build up a whole programme that will ensure confidence in the judicial process once again. “The type of confidence we had in the 1970s, 80s and very early 90s – when people like Eso, Oputa, Anyagolo, Obaseki, Nnamani, Karibe-White – were ruling the Supreme Court.”